People living with disabilities are less likely to be active than non-disabled people, and are at greater risk of inactivity-related conditions, including obesity, diabetes and depression. Wheels for Wellbeing are doing their bit to try and change that.
When their Director, Isabelle, was just ten months old, she was left permanently paralysed by a spinal tumour. As she got older, she discovered that she could transform her wheelchair into a bicycle. It was a key moment for her and she became an avid cyclist, cherishing the freedom it gave her.
“You’re suddenly freed of day-to-day constraints and can experience the thrill of cycling. Some people that come to our sessions didn’t have that thrill as a child. We try to make this place an entry point for even the most unlikely of cyclists.”
Comic Relief awarded Wheels for Wellbeing a grant of £118,822 to employ a Policy and Campaigns Officer and build strategic alliances, so more inclusive cycling opportunities are implemented across the capital.
With their own fleet of specially-adapted bikes, from tandems to hand-driven machines, they’re enabling people with disabilities of all ages to cycle more freely.
Wheels for Wellbeing also spend much of their time campaigning and fighting for the rights of disabled people, so they can have a voice in the decision making processes around London’s roads and transport, and travel more easily.
“The funding from Comic Relief is crucial as it is helping us to connect and gather the voices of disabled cyclists so we can make more of a difference to people’s lives. We want all disabled people to be able to cycle. This is somewhere that people can come for advice, support and the opportunity to try it.”
Every week the project runs group-cycling workshops in Croydon and Herne Hill, where lots of people with disabilities get together and learn to cycle. To find out more, click here to visit their website.